The Bombay high court on Thursday lambasted the BMC for the recurrent pothole issue as well as its inability to run the civic corporation efficiently. Pointing to the instances of people dying due to potholes, the court said it was a shame that it had to constitute a nodal agency to oversee the working of the civic body.
The court further said that the nodal agency would also oversee the work of other civic corporations in the state as well and the secretary of the Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority (MALSA) would be the nodal officer. A member of the district MALSA committee would be responsible for receiving complaints, which would be forwarded to the nodal officer who would then ensure the concerned civic corporation addresses the complaint.
A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Dr Manjula Chellur and Justice N. M. Jamdar was hearing a suo moto public interest litigation wherein the court, in every hearing since 2013, when the petition was filed, had been giving specific directions to the BMC to take adequate measures before, during, and after the monsoons to repair potholes. However, in light of complaints and deaths due to potholes recurring even this year, the court came down heavily on the civic corporation.
The BMC counsel Anil Sakhare informed the court that a committee had been formed to look into the pothole complaints and a helpline number had been started on which Mumbaikars could call and inform the BMC about potholes. The BMC also placed a status report on the work of road repairs undertaken by it.
However, the chief justice was unsatisfied with the submissions and wondered how many more people would be eliminated before the next monsoon. She also rubbished the BMC’s initiatives of setting up a committee and helpline number saying, they doubted whether the numbers would be answered.
Referring to the numerous cases wherein people lost their lives due to bad roads, the chief justice said that the problem was not limited to Mumbai but people across the state faced similar problems. “It is a shame. We have to set up an agency to supervise you so that you work efficiently,” said the CJ.
She directed the state to popularise the nodal agency and the contact persons from MALSA to be contacted in case of pothole complaints.